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CROSH Graduate Student Member George Flager is giving the public presentation of his Major Paper Defence for his Master’s in Interdisciplinary Health. 

Title: Could Sector-Related Shortages and Closures During COVID-19 Have Been Avoided? A Regional Scoping Review of COVID-19 in Ontario

Speaker: George Flagler

Date: Thursday, August 31, 2023

Time: 1:00 PM

Place: via Zoom; email croshtech@laurentian.ca for the link

Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Lightfoot


During the initial waves of COVID-19, Ontario identified several sectors that were essential to the
continued health and well-being of the province. These sectors employed essential workers who were in
unfavourable circumstances while providing service to individuals in Ontario. This study explored the
regional impact on five occupational sectors, and how the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccine
mandates, factored into work stoppages and shortages in the Province of Ontario. A scoping review
framework was utilized for this study considering literature from 2019-2022. Two theoretical frameworks
were applied to guide this study; they were The Health Belief Model, and The Theory of Planned
Behaviour. Ontario’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine showed inequitable distribution of the vaccines to
neighbourhoods with the highest percentage of essential workers. Essential workers were critical to the
continuity of service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy makers responsible for the distribution of
COVID-19 vaccines should consider geographical regions that employ the most essential workers to help
reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Reducing the spread of COVID-19 in occupational settings could
have limited workplace stoppages and shortages in Ontario in many sectors. Further investigation is
required into the individual’s reasoning for not accepting the vaccine, and the employer’s role in vaccine
policy and enforcement.